Semantics and Stubbornness

April 11th, 2013

Once more, with feeling. Two humiliation play classes, one emotional masochism class, several blog posts, several more emails, and various verbal discussions. And it is still on my mind. Well, let’s get it out here and see if I can reach any conclusions today.

Objectification – “the treatment of a human being as a thing, disregarding his/her personality or sentience. Sexual objectification – the practice of regarding or treating another person merely as an instrument (object) towards one’s sexual pleasure.” (Wikipedia)

Objectification in play, can have two different formats. You can be used as an object – a lamp, furniture, a sex toy. Or you can be treated as a thing with no regard, or even disdain, for your personality, sentience or worth. These are two very different things. The first, being used, for me, is not at all humiliating, or degrading, though it could be for others. Being used is something I rather enjoy. The latter is specifically about humiliation and degradation, something I am struggling to define my interest in. First, we get into the semantics of those words.

“Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It is an emotion felt by a person whose social status has just decreased.” (Wikipedia) “Erotic Humiliation is the consensual use of psychological humiliation in a sexual context, whereby one person gains arousal or erotic excitement from the powerful emotions of being humiliated and demeaned, or of humiliating another.” (Wikipedia) “To reduce to a lower position in one’s own eyes or others’ eyes.” (Merriam Webster)

Degradation – “decline to a low, destitute, or demoralized state” (Merriam Webster), or “the process of deterioration of characteristics of an object with time” (Wikipedia), or “treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect.” (Google)

Basically, as a form of play, these are about bringing someone low, treating them and making them feel like something less than they are. (Yes, yes, you can’t ‘make’ anyone feel anything, how about, creating an environment that encourages them to feel that way?) I looked these up and provided the definitions I found, because I was having trouble in my own head, with my own understanding of the terms. Humiliation is feeling bad about yourself, your actions, your thoughts, your desires. Degradation is being torn down. Degradation is generally humiliating, but humiliation doesn’t have to be caused by degradation. The two do go fairly well hand in hand.

So, why are these things stuck on my brain? We tried it, it went horribly wrong. And we eventually figured out the problem: I was not fully separating self from scene. I am a writer and my own worst critic. I am a perfectionist and cannot stand failures in myself. It seems like playing with humiliation and degradation would be a bad idea. But I am a(n emotional) masochist and I’m stubborn. I don’t even like failing at failing. (No, that isn’t called succeeding.) I enjoy being beaten to a pulp, physically and mentally. I find it cathartic and stress-relieving.

So, I keep coming back to – okay, so you want to play rough? How can you do it safely? Which seems counter-intuitive right off the bat. ‘Can’t do that.’ ‘Too dangerous to self and relationship.’ ‘Why would you want to feel like that?’ And on and on. Is it just a case of wanting is not so pleasing a thing as having? Is it like the interrogation scene? What I really want is the challenge and this is the easiest way to label it? Probably. I love being challenged, mentally and physically. (Hmmm, what kinds of other mentally challenging play could I do?)

I’ve also gotten a recent inkling of kink as ritual ordeal, to come out the other side stronger. And this definitely seems like something that would be good for me – to face all the negative feelings about myself and come out the other side knowing that those feelings are false and wrong. (Not to mention that I should really get better at dealing with and accepting failure.) I am working to become stronger and more independent than ever before, and so this idea appeals to me on a personal growth level.

There we have it. A much better exploration of where my head is at with all this than I’ve managed in quite a while. Hurray for having my head back on straight again. 🙂


2 Responses to “Semantics and Stubbornness”

  1. says:

    You need to have a lot of love and trust on the other party in order to do this kinky stuff and at the same time without feeling humiliated!